Being a parent is illuminating but demanding. One of the most challenging things to handle is your little ones’ pain. If your child exhibits some depression symptoms, you probably will feel helpless and scared to the bone. How you will handle the situation and what you will say to your child has a significant impact on their recovery.
Indicators of Depression
As a parent, you might at times confuse depression with low mood. Low moods will disappear after a few days. For example, if your child disagrees with their friend at school, after settling the matter, normalcy returns.
But, with depression, the symptoms tend to get worse each day. It becomes overwhelming to the child. Suddenly, they become rebellious. At this point, your child needs you more than ever. You’ll be their confidant, someone they can talk to and assure them everything will be all right. Your child may be going through depression if they are coherent:
- Feelingly angry, irritable, or frustrated
- Sudden withdrawal or avoiding social institutions or their friends
- Keeping off things they previously enjoyed doing
- A shift in their school work concentration or losing interest
- Eating or sleeping more or less than normal
- Lack of interest in self-care activities like taking a shower
- Experiencing suicidal thoughts
- Trying to self-harm
How Can You Help Your Child Through Depression?
There’s so much that you can do as a parent to walk your child through this journey.
Listen and offer emotional support
Be sure not to ask endless questions, devise quick solutions, mask their sadness, and show empathy with how they feel. Do not forget that opening up to you meant an answer to them. Let the child know that you will always be there for them anytime they need someone to talk to.
Try as much as you can not take things personally, especially if you get sad, angry, or frustrated during the talk. The burst of emotions is an authentic reflection of what the child feels- and they thought of you as the best person to express the build-up. However, if things get out of hand, it’s good to seek professional help.
Let your child know that being depressed is okay
Often, children will hide things that they think will upset you as their parents. Let your child know that failing to let you know whatever they are going through could be more upsetting than hurting you. Talk to them about any known stories about people who were depressed at some point in their lives but came out strong. Examples from people they connect with would make them realize that it’s a normal phase.
Be patient with your child
Try to start to bring up a conversation with your child about what’s happening. You can begin by letting them know that you have realized that they are no longer jovial. Raising your concerns in a non-judgmental and caring way may spark up a conversation.
Try some other day if they are not willing to open. Young people find opening very demanding. They do not see the need for venting since they don’t want to worry or upset their parents. Assure them that you are available and willing to listen to how they are feeling.
Constantly remind them that they are important to you
Sometimes, you don’t know what to say to someone with depression since you don’t know exactly how they’re feeling. Here’s what you can say to a child with depression if you don’t know how to go about it. Whenever children are battling depression, they have feelings of being worthless and not being loved. Constant reminding of how they are essential makes them feel loved and appreciated.
Help Them Feel Connected
Loneliness is a common symptom of depressed children. Lack of connection and interaction can deteriorate the symptoms. It might be a bit hard to force your child to make friends at this moment. However, to enhance interaction, you can:
- Propose ideas on attending ongoing social events
- Inspire them to join a club at school
- Organize weekend family get-togethers
- Encourage them to bring over their friends for sleepovers
Whatever your child will be comfortable with to stay in contact with people is vital. Strive to drive away your child’s loneliness. To be your child’s support system when they’re battling depression, you need to stand by and be ready to act. Strive to provide a supportive environment for your child. Always be the first person they can talk to, listen and encourage them.